Skip to main content

Seasonal upwelling on the Western and Southern Shelves of the Gulf of Mexico

Abstract

An 8-year database of sea surface temperature (SST), 7 years of Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) ocean color images, wind fields, and numerical model results are analyzed to identify regions and periods of coastal upwelling on the western and southern shelves of the Gulf of Mexico. On the seasonal scale, it is found that on the Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and southwestern Texas–Louisiana shelves there are upwelling favorable winds from April to August, when southeasterly winds are dominant and cold SST anomalies associated with upwelling are observed along their coasts. However, during summer, values of chlorophyll-a concentration are lower than those in autumn and winter, which are high due to advection of old bloom biological material from upstream. During winter, there is a cold front on the Tamaulipas shelf produced by advection of cold water from the Texas–Louisiana shelf and not due to upwelling. On the eastern Campeche Bank, persistent upwelling is observed due to favorable winds throughout the year with cold SST and large chlorophyll-a content along the inner shelf from May to September. On the Tamaulipas shelf, the summer upwelling delays the annual SST peak until September, while in most of the Gulf SST peaks in August. This difference is due to the end of the upwelling favorable wind conditions and the September seasonal current reversal.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  • Cho K, Reid RO, Nowlin WD Jr (1998) Objectively mapped stream function fields on the Texas–Louisiana shelf based on 32 months of moored current meter data. J Geophys Res 103:10377–10390

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cochrane JD, Kelly FJ (1986) Low-frequency circulation on the Texas–Louisiana continental shelf. J Geophys Res 91:10645–10659

    Google Scholar 

  • Mendoza VM, Villanueva EE, Adem J (2005) On the annual cycle of the sea surface temperature and the mixed layer depth in the Gulf of México. Atmósfera 18:127–148

    Google Scholar 

  • Elliot BA (1982) Anticyclonic rings in the Gulf of Mexico. J Phys Oceanogr 12:1291–1309

    Google Scholar 

  • Merino M (1997) Upwelling on the Yucatan Shelf: hydrographic evidence. J Mar Systems 13:101–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morey SL, Martin PJ, O’Brien JJ, Wallcraft AA, Zavala-Hidalgo J (2003) Export pathways for river discharged fresh water in the northern Gulf of Mexico. J Geophys Res 108(C10):3303 doi: 10.1029/2002JC001674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morey SL, Zavala-Hidalgo J, O’Brien JJ (2005) The seasonal variability of continental shelf circulation in the northern and western Gulf of Mexico from a high-resolution numerical model. In: Sturges W, Lugo-Fernández A (eds) New developments in the circulation of the Gulf of Mexico. American Geophysical Union Monograph

  • Nowlin WD Jr, McLellan HJ (1967) A characterization of the Gulf of Mexico waters in winter. J Mar Res 25:29–59

    Google Scholar 

  • Nowlin WD Jr, Jochens AE, Reid RO, DiMarco SF (1998) Texas–Louisiana shelf circulation and transport processes study: synthesis report, vol. 1: technical report. OCS Study MMS 98-0035. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, Louisiana, pp 502

  • Smith DC IV (1986) A numerical study of loop current eddy interaction with topography in the western Gulf of Mexico. J Phys Oceanogr 16:1260–1272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sturges W (1993) The annual cycle of the western boundary current in the Gulf of Mexico. J Geophys Res 98(C10):18053–18068

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vidal VMV, Vidal FV, Perez-Molero JM (1992) Collision of a loop current anticyclonic ring against the continental shelf slope of the western Gulf of Mexico. J Geophys Res 97:2155–2172

    Google Scholar 

  • Walker ND (2005) Wind and eddy-related shelf/slope circulation processes and coastal upwelling in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. In: Sturges W and Lugo-Fernandez (eds) Circulation of the Gulf of Mexico. American Geophysical Union Monograph, American Geophysical Union, pp 295–314

  • Walker ND, Myint S, Babin A, Haag A (2003) Advances in satellite radiometry for the surveillance of surface temperatures, ocean eddies and upwelling processes in the Gulf of Mexico using GOES-8 measurements during summer. Geophys Res Lett 30(16). DOI:10.1029/2003GL017555, OCE 4-1 to OCE 4-4

  • Zavala-Hidalgo J, Parés-Sierra A, Ochoa J (2002) Seasonal variability of the temperature and heat fluxes in the Gulf of Mexico. Atmósfera 15:81–104

    Google Scholar 

  • Zavala-Hidalgo J, Morey SL, O’Brien JJ (2003) Seasonal circulation on the western shelf of the Gulf of Mexico using a high-resolution numerical model. J Geophys Res 108(C12):3389 DOI:10.1029/2003JC001879

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by CONACYT Grant SEP-2003-C02-45634, UNAM Grants PAPIIT IN122005-3 and PAPIIT IN-1158042004. The authors would like to thank the SeaWiFS Project and the Distributed Active Archive Center (Code 902) at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, for the production and distribution of the data. These activities are sponsored by NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth Program. We would like to thank Rosario Romero-Centeno, who made important suggestions to improve this manuscript, and Paul Martin and Alan Wallcraft for their assistance with the NCOM; Olivia Salmerón, Erik Márquez, and Ranulfo Rodriguez processed the SeaWiFS and SST data. The numerical modeling work was sponsored by the ONR Secretary of the Navy grant to J. J. O’Brien, and by NASA Physical Oceanography.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jorge Zavala-Hidalgo.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Paulo Salles

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zavala-Hidalgo, J., Gallegos-García, A., Martínez-López, B. et al. Seasonal upwelling on the Western and Southern Shelves of the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean Dynamics 56, 333–338 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-006-0072-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-006-0072-3

Keywords

  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Coastal upwelling
  • Coastal circulation
  • AVHRR SST